In an address to the nation from the White House on Wednesday morning, President Trump said no Americans were killed or wounded when Iranian forces launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against two military bases in Iraq early Wednesday local time, marking the most significant Iranian attack in a growing conflict with the United States.
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Wednesday evening that Iran launched 16 ballistic missiles, including 11 that landed at al-Asad air base and one in Irbil.
Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Esper said the missiles struck tents, a helicopter and other items but did not cause major damage.
Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that he thinks Iranian forces intended to kill Americans and cause destruction but that an intelligence assessment would continue.
U.S. officials said Wednesday that they knew Iranian missiles were coming hours in advance of the attack after warnings from intelligence sources and communications from Iraq. Iraq’s acting prime minister has said he was informed of the attack ahead of time.
“We knew, and the Iraqis told us, that this was coming many hours in advance,” said a senior U.S. administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the communications.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that the House will vote Thursday on a measure to limit Trump’s military actions regarding Iran. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said the classified briefing by Trump administration officials Wednesday was “probably the worst briefing I’ve seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I’ve served in the United States Senate.”
Here’s what we know so far:
● The U.S. military said no Americans were killed or wounded in the Iranian missile attacks on bases in Iraq early Wednesday.
● U.S. officials said they knew Iranian missiles were coming hours before the attack.
● Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called the attack a “slap in the face” of the United States but said more needed to be done to end the U.S. presence in the region and avenge the death of powerful Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.
● Iraq’s acting prime minister said he was informed of the attack ahead of time.
● Lawmakers left a closed-door briefing with top national security officials divided over whether the strike that killed Soleimani was legally justified, and Pelosi said the House will vote Thursday on a measure to limit Trump’s military actions regarding Iran.
9:45 PM: House Rules Committee sets parameters for war powers resolution vote
The House Rules Committee on Wednesday night established parameters for a vote on the war powers resolution, which would limit Trump’s military actions against Iran.
The House will vote on the resolution Thursday — a process that will include two hours of equally divided debate. The parameters were approved by a 9-to-4 vote.
In response, Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), tweeted, “Each of the nine Democrats on the House Rules Committee just voted to tie President [Trump’s] hands when it comes to defending America.”
“Shameful,” she added.
By: Michael Brice-Saddler
8:33 PM: Biden tells Trump to ‘stop blaming Obama for his failures’
WASHINGTON — On Twitter late Wednesday, former vice president Joe Biden said Trump was unfairly targeting Barack Obama instead of laying out “a coherent strategy on Iran.”
“I’m thankful no one was hurt in last night’s attack,” Biden tweeted. “But we’re only in this mess because Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran Deal (which even his advisors said was working), turned his back on our allies and had no strategy for what comes next.”
In his remarks to the nation Wednesday morning, Trump took several shots at the Obama administration, accusing it of enabling Iran’s aggression.
“The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration,” Trump said. The claim was labeled both misleading and far-fetched by The Washington Post’s Fact Checker.
By: Michael Brice-Saddler
6:30 PM: Graham suggests two of his fellow Republican senators are ‘empowering the enemy’
WASHINGTON — In response to criticism from Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) over the classified Iran briefing by Trump administration officials Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said he believed they were “overreacting” and suggested their defiance was “empowering the enemy.”
His comments came after Lee had disparaged the briefing, calling it “probably the worst briefing I’ve seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I’ve served in the United States Senate.”
Lee and Paul, who are the most libertarian-leaning Republicans in the Senate, both indicated after the briefing that they would support the Democratic-led war powers resolution, which seeks to limit President Trump’s military actions regarding Iran.
“I think they’re overreacting, quite frankly,” Graham said. “Go debate all you want to. I’m going to debate you. ... I’m going to let people know that at this moment in time, to play this game with the War Powers Act — which I think is unconstitutional — is, whether you mean to or not, you’re empowering the enemy.”
He added: “I know you don’t mean to, but we live in the real world here. So debate all you want — this is a constitutional democracy — but get ready for a lively debate.”
By: Michael Brice-Saddler
5:45 PM: Gen. Milley says he believes Iran intended to kill Americans and cause destruction in missile attacks
WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Iran launched 16 ballistic missiles, including 11 that landed at al-Asad air base and one in Irbil.
Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Esper said the missiles struck tents, a helicopter and other items but did not cause major damage. He said the missiles were fired from three sites in Iran, but he declined to say which.
Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that he had assessed that Iran intended to cause material destruction and kill Americans in the attacks but that an intelligence estimate would continue.
“I believe based on what I saw and what I know is that they were intended to cause structural damage, destroy vehicles and equipment and aircraft and to kill personnel. That’s my own personal assessment,” he said.
The officials declined to give details about the advance warning the United States received but said it did not come from the Iraqi government. U.S. officials said earlier in the day that an early warning came from intelligence sources and communications from Iraq.
By: Missy Ryan
5:05 PM: Trudeau condemns Iranian missile strikes in Iraq
TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday condemned Iran for its missile strikes in Iraq and called events there “deeply concerning.”
Speaking publicly for the first time since Soleimani was killed, Trudeau said that all of the Canadians who were on the base that was attacked in Irbil are safe.
He said he has spoken with Trump and stressed the need for de-escalation in the region.
Trudeau declined to answer questions about whether he supported the U.S. decision to kill Soleimani or whether he agrees with U.S. officials that Soleimani had been plotting “imminent” attacks on U.S. targets.
“Canada has long been aware of the threat posed by the IRGC on regional and global safety and security,” Trudeau said, referring to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Soleimani led the IRGC’s elite Quds Force.
By: Amanda Coletta
4:50 PM: Two rockets land inside Baghdad’s Green Zone
BAGHDAD — Iraq’s military said late Wednesday that two rockets had landed inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, causing no casualties. The explosions echoed across the center of the city, as sirens blared. It was unclear who launched the rockets.
By: Louisa Loveluck and Mustafa Salim
4:40 PM: Republican senator excoriates Trump administration officials over Iran briefing
WASHINGTON — In an exchange with reporters at the Capitol on Wednesday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) harshly criticized the administration’s classified national security briefing on Iran, calling it “probably the worst briefing I’ve seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I’ve served in the United States Senate.”
Lee said the message from the administration officials was that lawmakers need to be “good little boys and girls and run along and not debate this in public” — an instruction he described as “insane.”
“With history as our guide, consultation isn’t necessarily the same thing as authorization of the use of military force. … Drive-by notification or after-the-fact, lame briefings like the one we just received aren’t adequate,” Lee said.
He also said he was left “somewhat unsatisfied” on the level of information shared with regard to the legal justification behind the attack on Soleimani.
He said the briefing has influenced him to back a war powers resolution introduced by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), pending some minor amendments.
“It is not acceptable for officials within the executive branch … to come and tell us that we can’t debate and discuss the appropriateness of military intervention against Iran,” Lee said.
“It’s un-American, it’s unconstitutional, and it’s wrong.”
By: Felicia Sonmez and Siobhán O’Grady
4:15 PM: Pelosi says House will vote Thursday on measure to limit Trump’s military actions regarding Iran
WASHINGTON — Pelosi said in a statement Wednesday that lawmakers would vote Thursday on a war powers resolution “to limit the President’s military actions regarding Iran.”
Pelosi said the resolution will be led by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) and will go to the House Rules Committee on Wednesday evening and be brought to the House floor Thursday.
“Members of Congress have serious, urgent concerns about the Administration’s decision to engage in hostilities against Iran and about its lack of strategy moving forward,” the speaker said in the statement. “Our concerns were not addressed by the President’s insufficient War Powers Act notification and by the Administration’s briefing today.”
By: Siobhán O’Grady
4:10 PM: NATO secretary general tells Trump that alliance ‘could contribute more’ in Middle East
BRUSSELS — Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Trump on Wednesday that NATO “could contribute more” in the Middle East, the alliance said, after Trump called on U.S. allies to step up in the region in the wake of Soleimani’s killing and Iran’s response.
Stoltenberg and Trump spoke by phone immediately after Trump’s Wednesday address to the nation, Stoltenberg’s office said.
“They agreed that NATO could contribute more to regional stability and the fight against international terrorism,” the alliance said in a statement, offering no specifics.
In Trump’s speech, he said he would ask NATO allies to “become much more involved in the Middle East process.”
NATO, founded in 1949 to defend Western Europe against the Soviet Union, has long been involved in the war in Afghanistan and, in a more limited way, in the conflict in Iraq. Trump has pushed it to be more involved in countering terrorism, which has been a matter of debate within the alliance, because some policymakers feel counterterrorism is a better fit for police and intelligence forces rather than the brawny military power that has traditionally been NATO’s strength.
But many NATO members have contributed troops to the U.S.-led coalition to defeat the Islamic State, and the alliance itself is also a member. NATO also runs training missions for Iraqi and Afghan security forces. The alliance suspended its Iraq training mission in the aftermath of Soleimani’s killing.
Any shift in NATO policy on the Middle East would have to be agreed to by the alliance’s 29 member nations.
By: Michael Birnbaum
3:30 PM: U.S. officials knew Iranian missiles were coming hours in advance
WASHINGTON — The Iranian missile strike on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops on Tuesday was a calibrated event intended to cause minimal American casualties, give the Iranians a face-saving measure and provide an opportunity for both sides to step back from the brink of war, according to senior U.S. officials in Washington and the Middle East.
White House officials were bracing as early as Tuesday morning for Iran to respond to the U.S. killing last week of Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.
By Tuesday afternoon, U.S. officials said they knew that Iran intended to strike at U.S. facilities in Iraq, although it wasn’t immediately clear exactly which targets they would choose.
The early warning came from intelligence sources as well as communications from Iraq, which conveyed Iran’s intentions to launch the strike, officials said.
“We knew, and the Iraqis told us, that this was coming many hours in advance,” said a senior administration official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence and diplomatic communications.
“We had intelligence reports several hours in advance that the Iranians were seeking to strike the bases,” the official said. That gave military commanders time to get U.S. troops into safe, fortified positions at the Iraqi bases.
According to military officials, before the attacks, troops at bases in Iraq were ordered into bunkers, donned protective gear and were told to “shelter in place.” They remained in their protected positions for hours, including after the strike. One official said at least some troops left the al-Asad air base in western Iraq before the attack. The base, which houses some U.S. troops, was ultimately hit, along with a facility in Irbil, in northern Iraq.
By: Shane Harris, Josh Dawsey, Missy Ryan and Dan Lamothe
2:25 PM: Democrats and Republicans deeply divided after national security briefing on Soleimani killing
WASHINGTON — Lawmakers left a closed-door briefing with some of the Trump administration’s most senior national security officials Wednesday afternoon deeply divided over whether the administration was authorized to carry out the strike that killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad last week.
The administration has repeatedly said Soleimani was killed to avoid an “imminent” attack against Americans. But Democrats said the briefing Wednesday did not make a convincing case that any looming threat against the United States was averted when Soleimani was killed.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.) said he did not leave the briefing feeling convinced that Soleimani posed an “imminent threat.” He said that his committee would hold hearings next week to move forward with assessing congressional authorization for military action, and that Pompeo has been invited to attend.
When asked whether he would consider subpoenaing Pompeo, Engel said, “It’s a possibility.”
“We haven’t made any decision on that,” he added.
Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio) said she wasn’t certain the officials even understood themselves why Soleimani was killed. “I don’t know that they know the rationale,” she said. “Certainly they didn’t tell me what it was. … The explanation did not in any way show that it was imminent. They did not convince me that it was something that should have been done.”
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said officials walked lawmakers through the history of Soleimani’s threats against the United States and its allies, and said “the fact that he was plotting further attacks to kill Americans made it clear that it was time to take him out.”
“And obviously, you can’t go into full detail about the intelligence of those future attacks,” Scalise said. “But how much is enough?”
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, echoed Fudge’s concerns. “I didn’t hear any justification that differed from any activity that Soleimani has conducted over the last 15 years at various points,” he said.
He described “multiple moments of grumbling in the room” during the briefing.
But Rep. Mike D. Rogers (R-Ala.) said that Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke “with more specificity” about the imminence of the attack, and removed all doubt in his mind.
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), who serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he could say “with assurance” that the threat Soleimani posed “was not the same thing we’ve been seeing for the past few years. This was something different.”
Rogers said the attack was justified under the two Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) resolutions passed in 2001 and 2002.
Scalise also said the 2002 AUMF authorized the attack and that lawmakers should be “coming together to support our commander-in-chief to protect America — not debating how to limit the president’s ability to defend this country.”
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) also said it is an “inappropriate time” for the debate over war powers that some Democrats seek.
“You don’t have a debate about that in the middle of a conflict,” he said. “There’s no doubt he has legal authority,” he added, referring to Trump.
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Tex.), the top Republican on the armed services committee, said the briefing was vague, but that he left “persuaded that we had strong intelligence that meant we had to take action.”
He said he thinks the strike on Soleimani was legally justified, and that the United States has “the absolute right and I would say responsibility to protect Americans from such attacks.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), also a member of the House intelligence committee, said he still does not know the legal or intelligence justification for the strike against Soleimani.
“I leave with the feeling of more questions than answers,” he said.
By: Mike DeBonis and Siobhán O’Grady
1:00 PM: Republicans hail Trump’s speech, while Democrats urge caution
WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans lauded Trump’s White House address, with Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) calling it “a home run speech.”
“All Americans should support President Trump’s efforts to resolve the threat from Iran peacefully and fully understand the Maximum Pressure campaign must continue with a credible military component,” Graham tweeted.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) compared Trump’s approach to that of President Ronald Reagan.
“‘Peace through strength’ — That was the Reagan doctrine, and that is the measured approach we are seeing from the Trump administration today,” McCarthy said on Twitter. “Thank you to our President and to our courageous troops for returning America to a position of respect and admiration around the world.”
Democrats, meanwhile, voiced skepticism about Trump’s remarks, describing the president as de-escalating a crisis of his own making.
“Trump’s bluster is not constructive in reaching a resolution,” Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.) said in a tweet. “He scrapped a deal negotiated multilaterally with our allies, now he’s dragging those allies into the diplomatic disaster he himself has created. There’s a vacuum of sensible US leadership and everyone can see it.”
Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) criticized Trump for focusing much of his remarks on accusing the Obama administration of enabling Iran’s aggression.
“This was supposed to be an address to the nation. Instead, it was another embarrassing reminder of @realDonaldTrump’s absurd fixation on vilifying @BarackObama,” Gomez tweeted. “Making matters worse, it’s obvious this man cares more about appearing tough than keeping the American people safe.”
By: Felicia Sonmez
12:55 PM: U.N. Secretary General calls for maximum restraint
WASHINGTON — U.N. Secretary General António Guterres called for world leaders to “exercise maximum restraint” Wednesday, his spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement.
“It is our common duty to make every effort to avoid a war in the [Persian] Gulf that the world cannot afford,” Dujarric said. “We must not forget the terrible human suffering caused by war.”
By: Siobhán O’Grady
12:30 PM: British foreign secretary lands in Washington for meetings with lawmakers, Pompeo
WASHINGTON — British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted Wednesday afternoon that he had landed in Washington for “a day of valuable talks with senior members of Congress” ahead of a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“A chance to discuss the importance of the UK/US security partnership and the need to de-escalate the situation in Iraq,” he wrote.
After the missile attack Wednesday, Raab urged Iran against “reckless and dangerous attacks.”
In a statement Wednesday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said that Trump spoke with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and that the two “discussed the current situation in the Middle East and agreed to continue close coordination in support of shared national security interests.”
The United States is Britain’s most important ally, and Johnson has faced pressure to support the White House as he works to secure a free-trade deal amid Brexit woes.
Still, the British government has echoed European calls for de-escalation. And earlier this week, Johnson said he would not back Trump’s suggestion that the United States would target cultural sites in Iran if Iran struck “Americans or American assets.”
After a global outcry, Trump appeared to walk back those threats Tuesday.
By: Siobhán O’Grady
12:25 PM: Hoyer says House is working on Iran legislation
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said the House is working on legislation in response to the recent escalation in tensions with Iran and will progress “as soon as it’s prepared to move forward.”
“We are taking about what action we want to take. We expect we are going to take some action in the near term,” Hoyer told reporters at a pen-and-pad briefing.
Among the options under consideration by Democrats are a war powers resolution, a measure barring action on Iran absent congressional approval and a bill annulling the authorization for use of military force (AUMF) that presidents have used to justify military action abroad since 2002.
At the House Democratic caucus meeting Wednesday morning, leaders announced that plans for a war powers vote this week are on hold pending an afternoon briefing by administration officials on the latest Iran-related developments, according to a person who attended the meeting.
Democratic lawmakers also heard from two former Obama administration officials — former undersecretary of state Wendy Sherman and former deputy CIA director Avril Haines — who emphasized the precariousness of the current situation, the person said.
By: Mike DeBonis and Felicia Sonmez
11:30 AM: Trump says no Americans were hurt in Iranian missile attacks, calls on world powers to leave nuclear deal
WASHINGTON — President Trump said no Americans were killed or wounded when Iran launched at least a dozen ballistic missiles against bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq early Wednesday.
“The American people should be extremely grateful and happy no Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime,” he said. “We suffered no casualties, all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.”
He also called on world powers to abandon a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. “They must now break away from the remnants of the Iran deal,” he said.
“The United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it,” he said.
Trump said the Iranian strikes caused only “minimal damage” at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. military personnel.
“Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world,” Trump said. “No American or Iraqi lives were lost because of the precautions taken, the dispersal of forces and an early-warning system that worked very well.”
He said he would ask NATO allies to “become much more involved in the Middle East process.”
“The civilized world must send a clear and unified message to the Iranian regime: Your campaign of terror, murder, mayhem will not be tolerated any longer,” Trump said. “It will not be allowed to go forward.”
He added that the United States would impose additional sanctions on Iran, without offering further details.
Previously, Trump had warned that the United States would respond to any Iranian action and threatened severe consequences “if Iran does anything they shouldn’t be doing.”
Trump spent part of his address disparaging Soleimani, saying he was “responsible for some of the absolute worst atrocities” in the Middle East, “fueled bloody civil wars all across the region” and instigated vicious attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq. He repeated his charge that Soleimani was planning new attacks on Americans but did not provide evidence.
In slamming the Iran nuclear deal, Trump also asserted without evidence that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and that “the missiles fired last night were paid for by the funds made available [to Iran] by the last administration” under the agreement.
As he spoke Wednesday morning, Trump was flanked by several top administration officials, including Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
By: Siobhán O’Grady and Felicia Sonmez
11:10 AM: French government advises citizens in Haifa to take extra precautions amid fears of Iranian attacks
JERUSALEM — The French government advised its citizens living in Haifa to take extra precautions Wednesday after Iranians singled out the Israeli coastal city multiple times as a prime target for retaliation in the escalating conflict with the United States.
A post over the weekend on an unofficial Telegram channel claiming knowledge of Iranian plans said the regime could target both Haifa and Dubai. On Sunday, a former head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard threatened to turn Haifa “to dust,” along with Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial capital and home to its national military headquarters.
“Following the recent escalation of tensions in the region, the city of Haifa has been the subject of explicit threats,” the French Foreign Ministry said in an online update of its international security advisory.
American, British and other Western embassies have advised citizens living or traveling in Israel to exercise caution in recent days, without citing particular cities.
Israel has been on alert since the spike in military action between the United States and Iran but has called for no special precautions from citizens based on the threats. The country was already braced for potential attacks from Iran and groups it supports around the region — including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza — following recent Israeli strikes on Iranian assets in Iraq and Syria.
Officials here have had a muted response since Friday’s attacks and have reportedly downplayed the likelihood of an imminent attack. Many residents, used to the threat of rockets from many directions, did the same.
“We don’t take it seriously,” said Efraim Aharon, 69, a lifelong resident of Haifa, a port city and refinery center just below the border with Lebanon. “The petroleum industry is a good target, but that’s something we’ve lived with for a long, long time.”
The Israeli army would not comment on threats against specific targets in Israel, but said that they were keeping a keen eye on developments.
“We are following events and being mindful of the fact that this is an event between the U.S. and Iran,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus.
By: Steve Hendrix
10:30 AM: ‘Cowboy diplomacy will not work in Iran,’ House Democratic Caucus chair says
WASHINGTON — At a news conference Wednesday morning, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) sharply criticized Trump’s handling of relations with Iran and called on the president to pursue a “responsible” solution to the crisis.
“Cowboy diplomacy did not work in Vietnam,” Jeffries said. “Cowboy diplomacy did not work in Iraq. Cowboy diplomacy will not work in Iran. We are hopeful that the administration will de-escalate this situation and that the president will move forward in a responsible fashion, working with our partners and allies, particularly as it relates to the European Union, to move the world into a better space.”
Rep. Katherine M. Clark (Mass.), the vice chair of the Democratic caucus, said Trump’s “reckless and dangerous” strike targeting Soleimani has “set off an avalanche of chaos.” She noted that the House will vote this week on a war powers resolution.
“We must commit to de-escalating this crisis in front of us … We stand ready to keep Americans safe and secure and to prevent this from escalating into a war with Iran,” Clark said.
Later in the news conference, she circled back and said “there is no set timeline” for when the House will take up the measure.
By: Felicia Sonmez
10:25 AM: Rep. Cheney says Republicans are ‘absolutely unified’ behind Trump
WASHINGTON — Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the third-ranking member of House GOP leadership, said Wednesday that her party is “absolutely unified” behind Trump regarding his decision to carry out the strike targeting Soleimani.
“We look forward to the United States being unified behind the president … We will continue, certainly, as Republicans here in the House to be unified as a body as well,” Cheney said at a news conference with other House Republican leaders at the Capitol.
She contrasted Trump’s actions with those of the Obama administration, arguing that Trump “has made clear that the United States will not tolerate” the “malign activity” of Iran’s leaders.
On Tuesday night Eastern time, as news of the Iranian strike spread, Cheney tweeted that Tehran had “made a grave miscalculation by launching these attacks,” a sharp contrast with the statements made by congressional Democrats, who urged Trump to dial down his rhetoric and de-escalate the situation.
At Wednesday’s news conference, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) hailed the fact that there were no reports of American casualties in the Iranian strikes early Wednesday local time. He also defended Trump’s handling of the Soleimani strike, arguing that “it’s very clear that the president had to take action.”
He declined to say, however, whether he believes that Trump should take an “off-ramp” and pursue diplomacy instead of further military action.
“I will allow the president to speak to the nation. I will allow him to gather all the information. I think the president has handled this correctly all the way through,” McCarthy said.
In a rebuke of Democrats who have criticized Trump’s actions, McCarthy also said that “all of Congress should speak with one voice in moments like this to send a very clear message around the world that we defend Americans here and abroad.”
By: Felicia Sonmez
10:15 AM: Leader of Yemen’s Houthi rebel group calls Iranian retaliation ‘great successful beginning’
BEIRUT — The leader of Yemen’s Houthi rebel group condemned the U.S. drone attack that killed Soleimani in Baghdad and said Iran’s retaliatory strikes aimed at U.S. forces based in Iraq were a fitting Islamic punishment.
“The Iranian strike is a great successful beginning on the path to removing American domination from the area,” Abdulmalik al-Houthi said in a televised statement.
The leader of the Yemeni Shiite group called for cooperation and coordination to achieve “a certain victory” against the United States and its ally Israel.
“America has no right to execute any military operation in Iraq and to kill its sons and neighbors,” he said.
In 2015, a coalition of Sunni Muslim countries, led by Saudi Arabia, joined Yemen’s conflict, fighting the Iranian-allied Houthis. The Saudi-led coalition is trying to restore the Riyadh-aligned government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, which the Shiite Houthis drove out of the capital, Sanaa.
The coalition is also trying to curb Iran’s influence in the area, exemplified by its alliance with the Houthis.
In his statement Wednesday, the leader of the group praised Iran and said the region has now entered “a new chapter of resistance.”
“We hope both the Saudi and Emirati regimes learn the lesson, for the coming developments are big and their effect on the two regimes will be very negative,” he said.
By: Sarah Dadouch
9:40 AM: Turkey’s Erdogan warns against turning Iraq into ‘a new ring of fire’
ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, adding to the global chorus of anxiety over hostilities between Iran and the United States, said Wednesday that “no one has the right to throw the whole region, especially Iraq, into a new ring of fire for the sake of their own interests.”
“The tension between our ally U.S.A. and our neighbor Iran has reached a point that we do not desire at all,” Erdogan said, while promoting Turkey’s diplomatic efforts to defuse the crisis. “By mobilizing all the opportunities we have, we will not allow our region to drown in blood and tears.”
Erdogan made the comments at a ceremony in Istanbul marking the launch of a natural gas line between Russia and Turkey. President Vladimir Putin was also in attendance, a day after the Russian leader made a rare visit to Syria.
The two leaders focused most of their comments on the pipeline and their burgeoning relationship, which has survived, Erdogan said, despite their “dissenting opinions” on various issues. Some of those disagreements have been significant: The latest is over Libya, where Russia and Turkey are backing opposite sides in a civil war that has turned into a proxy conflict involving a lengthy list of foreign states.
Despite Turkey’s own growing entanglement in Libya, Erdogan said Wednesday that his government does not want to see the Persian Gulf region “turning into a stage for proxy wars.” Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, has been dispatched to Baghdad to try to help calm tensions, Erdogan said.
“We are trying to reduce blood pressure by using all channels of diplomacy during this critical process, as the drums of war play,” he added.
By: Kareem Fahim and Zeynep Karatas
9:20 AM: Trump to address the nation at 11 a.m.
WASHINGTON — President Trump, who has been huddling with his national security team, will address the nation at 11 a.m. on the situation on Iran, according to updated guidance issued by the White House.
He is scheduled to appear from the Grand Foyer of the White House.
His remarks are expected to be the first since a tweet Tuesday night in which Trump wrote: “All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good!”
By: John Wagner
8:43 AM: Oil prices, stock futures ricochet after Iran lobs missiles at bases used by U.S. troops
WASHINGTON — Oil prices and U.S. stock futures whipsawed overnight after Iran fired on Iraqi bases used by U.S. troops, but markets quickly rebounded after there were no immediate reports of casualties.
Dow futures tumbled as much as 400 points but had flipped into positive territory by 8 a.m. Wednesday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq also flashed green. Meanwhile, Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate pulled back after spiking more than 3 percent in the hours after the missile attacks.
Analysts saw the strike as more of a face-saving move for Tehran, allowing it to say it had followed though on its promised retaliation for the U.S. killing of its most powerful military commander.
“Once the smoke cleared, literally, from the Iranian missile attacks, it was clear that our worst fears were not realized. No U.S. fatalities and no damage to any oil infrastructure,” said John Kilduff, an analyst with Again Capital.
And so long as oil kept flowing out of the region, analysts expected no immediate impact on consumer gasoline prices. Last week, immediately afterSoleimani was killed in an airstrike ordered by Trump, crude oil prices jumped about 3 percent and investors braced for retaliation.
By: Rachel Siegel and Thomas Heath
8:41 AM: Iraqi president calls U.S.-Iranian showdown ‘dangerous’
BAGHDAD — Iraqi President Barham Salih has described the intensifying U.S.-Iranian showdown on his country’s soil as a “dangerous” development.
In a statement, Salih condemned Iran’s overnight rocket attacks “against Iraqi military locations on Iraqi soil” and said he rejects attempts to turn Iraq into a proxy battlefield.
Trump’s decision to killSoleimani in an airstrike has sent ripples of fear through the country, resurrecting the specter of fresh conflict in Iraq and intensifying public anger over the United States’ role in national developments.
While Salih did not follow the lead of his prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, in calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, he insisted that the decision should be Iraq’s alone.
“The fate of these forces is Iraq’s internal business,” he said.
Despite accidentally notifying the Iraqi government that it was “repositioning” troops, the Pentagon says that its forces have no immediate plans to leave the country. On Sunday, Iraq’s parliament urged Abdul Mahdi to expel foreign troops, ending the United States’ 17-year military presence in the country.
By: Louisa Loveluck
7:22 AM: British leader calls for end to retaliatory strikes in U.S.-Iran feud
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday that he opposes any further military actions in the escalating conflict between the United States and Iran in the Middle East.
He made the statement in response to a question by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn about whether Johnson opposes “further retaliation or escalations in violence.” Confirming that he does, Johnson said, “The United Kingdom has been working solidly since the crisis began to bring together our European allies in their response.”
Johnson also said that the “United States has a right to protect its bases and its personnel” and that Soleimani was responsible for sustaining the “brutal Assad regime in Syria” and supplying weapons and explosives to terrorists. “That man [Soleimani] had the blood of British troops on his hands,” Johnson said.
On Monday, Johnson said that Britain would not support Trump’s threat to target Iranian cultural sites and issued a statement along with Germany and France that asked “all parties to exercise utmost restraint and responsibility.”
By: Jennifer Hassan
7:04 AM: Kuwait news agency says hackers posted fake tweets about withdrawal of U.S. troops
ISTANBUL — The state-run Kuwait News Agency said Wednesday that hackers published fake messages on its Twitter account that indicated that the U.S. military would rapidly withdraw its troops from a base in Kuwait.
The two messages were quickly deleted. “Our social media account (Twitter) has been hacked,” the agency said.
The messages were posted around 5:42 a.m. Eastern time. “Kuwait defense minister announced today that he has received an official letter from Commander-in-chief of Camp Arifjan declaring imminent withdrawal of all US military forces in 3 days,” the first said, referring to a U.S. base in Kuwait, on the Persian Gulf.
“Kuwait Defense Minister stated that receiving such letter from Camp Arifjan was unexpected and we are communicating with U.S. Department of Defense for more details and information,” said the second.
The apparent hacking came amid soaring tensions between the United States and Iran after President Trump ordered the killing of Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force. Iranian forces launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against two military bases in Iraq early Wednesday that it said were in retaliation for the killing.
Iran has also threatened retaliation against other bases used by American troops in the region if U.S. strikes against Tehran are launched from those bases.
By: Kareem Fahim
5:40 AM: Iraq’s leader informed ahead of time of Iranian strikes
BAGHDAD — Iraq’s prime minister said Wednesday that Iran notified his office of the impending military action against U.S. targets in Iraq early Wednesday, just as the U.S. military reported that attacks were beginning.
“Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, 8/1/2020, we received an official oral message from the Islamic Republic of Iran that the Iranian response to the assassination of Qasem Soleimani had begun,” said a statement from Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s office.
“And at the same time, the American side called us and rockets were falling on the American forces’ quarters at Ein al-Asad base in Anbar and Harir in Irbil and in other locations,” the statement said.
No casualties have been reported, the statement said. The prime minister called on all parties to exercise restraint and respect Iraqi sovereignty. Abdul Mahdi has condemned the killing of Soleimani as an “assassination,” saying that the departure of U.S. and other foreign troops from Iraq is now the only way to de-escalate tensions.
By: Louisa Loveluck
5:14 AM: Iraqi militia leader says it is now Iraqis’ turn to attack U.S. targets
BAGHDAD — A leading militia commander in Iraq said Wednesday that it was time for the country to follow Iran’s example and avenge the U.S. airstrike that killed Soleimani last week.
“Now it is time for the initial response to the assassination of the martyred commander Muhandis,” Qais al-Khazali, who leads the Iran-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq group, wrote on Twitter, referring to an Iraqi militia commander killed in the attack ordered by Trump.
“Because Iraqis are brave and zealous, their response will not be any less than that or Iran’s. That is a promise,” he said.
Pictures of slain militia commander Jamal Jaafar Ibrahimi, better known by his nom de guerre, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, have sprung up across Baghdad this week, tacked to monuments near the Green Zone and hanging right in front of the U.S. Embassy.
By: Louisa Loveluck
5:14 AM: Airlines halting flights over Iran, Iraq airspace
BEIRUT — The flagship airlines of France, Germany and the Netherlands have restricted flights in Iran’s airspace due to rapidly escalating tension in the area, following an attack by Iran on military bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops.
Air France suspended flights over both Iranian and Iraqi airspace, Reuters reported the company saying Wednesday.
Agence France-Presse reported that KLM flights have been rerouted. “Until further notice, KLM has no flights over Iranian or Iraqi airspace,” a spokesman said.
A spokesman for Lufthansa said the German airline is canceling its daily flight between Frankfurt and Tehran, as well as its next planned flight on Saturday to Irbil in Iraq, Reuters reported.
Irbil was one of the areas hit overnight in Iraq, when Iran launched more than a dozen missiles against two military bases in the country.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday issued a notice prohibiting U.S. carriers “from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.”
Other commercial airlines also rerouted flights, including Australian carrier Qantas, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines, the Associated Press reported.
By: Sarah Dadouch
4:56 AM: Iraqis living near U.S. Embassy abandon their homes, fearing strike
BAGHDAD — Some Iraqi residents of the neighborhoods near Baghdad’s U.S. Embassy have left their homes overnight and in recent days, fearing that the area might become a target for future rocket or missile attacks.
“People have left the area; others have started sleeping in their basements,” said Dima Ahmed, who lives in the Harthiya neighborhood near the embassy. “They’re worried they’ll be hit by mistake.”
Security remains tight across Baghdad’s Green Zone, where supporters of an Iranian-backed militia besieged the U.S. Embassy last week. A portrait of Muhandis, the influential militia leader killed in the U.S. drone strike that targeted Soleimani’s convoy on Friday, now hangs opposite the sprawling compound.
By: Louisa Loveluck
4:47 AM: Kurdish leader fears autonomous region to be drawn in U.S.-Iranian conflict
BAGHDAD — The prime minister of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region said he spoke to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo early Wednesday, urging de-escalation and saying that the region must not be dragged into the fray.
In a statement hours later, Masrour Barzani’s government stressed that Iraq’s Kurdish region would “not be a field of conflict.”
The U.S. and Iraqi militaries say that several rockets landed in the region’s capital, Irbil. No casualties have yet been reported.
By: Louisa Loveluck
3:55 AM: Supreme leader says Iran ‘slapped’ U.S. with missile strikes
ISTANBUL — Iran “slapped” the United States “on the face” with a barrage of ballistic missile strikes targeting U.S. troops in Iraq early Wednesday, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said.
The strikes were in retaliation for the death of Soleimani, the Iranian commander killed in a U.S. strike in Baghdad last week. In an address in the holy city of Qom, Khamenei said that “military action is not enough” to avenge Soleimani’s death.
The “corrupt presence of the United States in the region should come to an end,” Khamenei said. He then praised Soleimani, who was buried in his hometown Wednesday morning, as a “brave and prudent” military and political strategist.
“He would go into the heart of danger to keep others safe,” the Tasnim News Agency quoted Khamenei as saying.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also alluded to the strikes in Iraq overnight, saying that the United States may have “cut off the arm” of Soleimani but that America’s “legs” would be cut off in the region, too.
By: Erin Cunningham
3:44 AM: U.S. ambassador to Israel says few U.S. casualties
JERUSALEM — U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that early assessments of Iran’s missile strikes against U.S. forces suggested that U.S. casualties may be limited.
“Initial assessments are positive, and we pray these reports are true,” Friedman said before he addressed a forum on U.S. policy on Israeli settlements in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
By: Steve Hendrix
3:40 AM: Emirati officials call for calm, say oil flow will not be affected
DUBAI — Emirati officials called Wednesday for de-escalation after Iranian missiles crashed down on U.S. bases in Iraq, while maintaining that the flow of oil from the region so far was unaffected.
In a tweet, Emirati State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said it was “essential that the region pulls back from the current & troubling tensions. De escalation is both wise & necessary.”
UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei, meanwhile, said war has not yet broken out and the situation should not be exaggerated.
“We will not see a war,” he said at a conference in Abu Dhabi, according to Reuters. “This is definitely an escalation between the United States, which is an ally, and Iran, which is a neighbor.”
He added that the OPEC cartel of oil producers would make up for any shortages caused by the tensions between the United States and Iran in the region.
“We are not forecasting any shortage of supply unless there is a catastrophic escalation, which we don’t see,” he said.
By: Paul Schemm
2:00 AM: Britain condemns Iranian attack on bases in Iraq
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned Wednesday the Iranian missile attack on coalition bases in Iraq expressing concern over “reports of casualties and use of ballistic missiles.”
In a statement, Raab urged Iran not to engage in further attacks, adding that a war in the Middle East would only help the Islamic State group and other terrorist groups.”
By: Paul Schemm
1:50 AM: Iraq says no Iraqi casualties in Iranian missiles strike on bases
The tweets said 17 missiles hit in the area of the al-Asad air base, two of which did not explode, and that five missiles hit Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region.
The U.S. military has said it is still assessing casualties, but Iran claimed that dozens of U.S. troops were killed in the missile attack.
Iran said the attack was in retaliation for the drone strike that killed top Iranian commander Soleimani.
By: Paul Schemm
1:22 AM: Iran claims dozens of U.S. deaths in missile strike
DUBAI — Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed Wednesday that dozens of U.S. troops were killed in a missile attack on al-Asad air base in Iraq. The U.S. military has said it is still assessing casualties.
In a statement to state television, the Revolutionary Guard said 15 missiles hit 20 critical points, killing 80 soldiers, wounding 200 and destroying large quantities of military equipment, including helicopters, according to the Mehr News Agency.
The Iranian press has been filled with glowing reports of the damage caused by the missile strike against two bases in Iraq in the early hours of the morning. Trump, however, tweeted that “All is well” and promised to address the nation later Wednesday.
The chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, said the missile strikes would not be the end of Iran’s retaliation and that any response by the United States would only provoke more attacks.
Iran is retaliating for the Jan. 3 killing of Soleimani by a U.S. drone strike.
Iran’s military has said that more than 100 U.S. targets in the region have been identified. In earlier statements, leaders said the response would be restricted to military and political targets.
U.S. authorities have told commercial shipping to be cautious in waters near Iran, and the FAA has banned U.S. carriers from Iraqi, Iranian and Persian Gulf airspace because of the “potential for miscalculation or misidentification” of civilian aircraft.
By: Paul Schemm
11:00 PM: Escalating tensions jolt financial markets
HONG KONG — Stock markets in Asia slumped, while oil and gold prices surged after the Iranian missile attack on military bases in Iraq intensified fears of a wider conflict.
Japan’s Nikkei was down around 2 percent midday Wednesday, and stocks in Hong Kong and Australia also declined.
The global benchmark Brent crude oil futures soared more than 3 percent to their highest level since September, before paring some of the gains. U.S. stock futures also slid.
Gold — seen as a haven in times of uncertainty — surged above $1,600 an ounce for the first time in almost seven years, while the yen strengthened against the dollar.
By: David Crawshaw
10:21 PM: Contractor whose death Trump cites was a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Iraq
An American defense contractor whose death late last month was cited by Trump amid escalating violence with Iran was identified Tuesday as an interpreter who was born in Iraq and lived in Sacramento.
Nawres Hamid, 33, became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2017, according to his widow. He was the father of two boys, ages 2 and 8, she said.
In recent years, as an Arabic interpreter for U.S. forces in Iraq, Hamid was known to decorate his living space with pictures of the children, according to a co-worker.
Hamid was killed on Dec. 27 when U.S. authorities say an Iranian-backed militia fired rockets at a military base near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.
The attack, which injured several coalition troops, prompted Trump to order missile strikes against Iraqi militias. That in turn led to a New Year’s Eve assault on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and a retaliatory strike by the United States that killed Soleimani, a top Iranian military commander.
Hamid’s death has been a rallying cry for Trump. In a tweet on Dec. 31, Trump wrote: “Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!”
Read more here.
By: Aaron Davis
10:00 PM: Trump says he will make statement Wednesday in response to Iranian strike
WASHINGTON — In a tweet, Trump said he would address the nation Wednesday morning and sought to reassure Americans, declaring, “All is well!”
“Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now,” Trump said. “So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far!”
Despite Trump’s tweet, there were no public events listed for the president on the schedule sent out by the White House eight minutes earlier.
Democrats have responded to news of the strike by urging Trump not to resort to military action, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeting that America and the world “cannot afford war.”
By: Felicia Sonmez
9:50 PM: Iranian foreign minister says his country took ‘proportionate measures’
WASHINGTON — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in a message on Twitter following the strikes, said that Iran had taken “proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of U.N. Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.”
By: Missy Ryan
9:23 PM: Warren and other Democrats call for de-escalation, voice concern for U.S. troops
WASHINGTON — News of Iran’s strike broke as a crowd of more than 4,000 waited for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) at a rally in Brooklyn on Tuesday night Eastern time. As soon as she took the stage, Warren said she wanted to open on a “very sober note.”
“For any of you who haven’t been able to follow it, within the last hour, the Iranian government has announced that it has sent missiles to attack our military bases in Iraq,” she said. “My three brothers all served in the military. … My heart and my prayers are with our military and with their families in Iraq and around the world. This is a reminder of why we need to de-escalate tension in the Middle East. The American people do not want a war with Iran.”
Former Obama administration housing chief Julián Castro, who was in Brooklyn to introduce Warren at their first joint event since his endorsement of her, also opened with mention of the airstrikes.
“I wanted to just begin by saying that tonight we’re thinking about our men and women in uniform, especially those who are stationed in Iraq. And we’re praying for their safety,” he said.
Castro, who went on to also mention the massive earthquake that caused widespread damage in Puerto Rico, said developments on the island and in Iraq were “two very powerful and poignant reminders of why all of us have a role to play: engaging in our democracy, voting, and ushering in new leadership in 2020 with a new president.”
Several of the other Democratic White House candidates took to Twitter to voice concern for U.S. troops in Iraq in the wake of the Iranian strike.
“Tonight, Americans in Iraq are under fire,” former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg said. “My prayers are with them, their loved ones, and their families.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) said that the United States “must do all we can to protect our servicemembers and Americans at risk.”
Klobuchar did not attend a previously scheduled fundraiser in Washington on Tuesday night due to the Iranian strike.
By: Amy B Wang and Felicia Sonmez
9:10 PM: Military unclear if there were U.S. casualties in attacks on two military bases
WASHINGTON — A defense official said that U.S. military did not yet have clear information about whether there had been American casualties in the attacks on the two sites in Iraq.
One U.S. military official, reached for comment earlier Tuesday evening, said U.S. troops were still assessing what happened.
By: Missy Ryan
8:32 PM: Representative to Iran’s supreme leader appears to mimic Trump’s tweet
WASHINGTON — Moments after a military base was struck by missiles in Iraq, Saeed Jalili, a representative to Iran’s supreme leader, tweeted a photo of Iran’s flag.
The tweet appears to be mimicking President Trump, who tweeted a photo of the American flag following reports that an airstrike had killed Soleimani.
By: Michael Brice-Saddler and Shane Harris
8:20 PM: Irbil military base targeted in missile attack is major hub for U.S. and coalition military activity
WASHINGTON — Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, is a major hub for U.S. and coalition military activity in Iraq and also an important launching point for the parallel mission against the Islamic State in neighboring Syria.
Many U.S. forces pass through Irbil on their way in and out of a network of much smaller bases in Syria. During the peak of the campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq, military officials also oversaw a major battle in the nearby city of Mosul from Irbil. The city, like most of Iraqi Kurdistan, has been considered safer for U.S. personnel than other parts of Iraq.
By: Missy Ryan
7:22 PM: Iran launches more than a dozen missiles against two military bases in Iraq, Pentagon says
The attack was launched about 5:30 p.m. Washington time, the Pentagon said.
“It is clear these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel,” the statement said. Al-Asad air base in western Iraq and at least one facility in Irbil were targeted.
“As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend U.S. personnel, partners, and allies in the region,” the statement said. “Due to the dynamic nature of the situation, we will continue to provide updates as they become available.”
One U.S. military official, reached for comment Tuesday evening, said U.S. troops were still assessing what happened.
“They’re still in bunker mode,” the official said.
The al-Asad air base in Iraq was hit by at least six missiles about midnight local time, said a U.S. defense official familiar with the situation.
The base, in Iraq’s western Anbar province, houses some American troops. Trump on Sunday called it “extraordinarily expensive,” threatening the Iraqi government with sanctions if the United States is told to withdraw all of its troops from Iraq and the government in Baghdad does not pay for it.
It was not immediately clear where on the base the missiles landed or if anyone was harmed. It would appear to mark one of the most aggressive attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq since the Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah launched 31 missiles at a base near Kirkuk on Dec. 27, killing a contractor and wounding several U.S. troops.
The U.S. military launched airstrikes on targets affiliated with Iranian-backed forces two days later.
By: Dan Lamothe
6:35 PM: Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps claims the ‘harsh revenge’ promised by Iran’s leaders has begun, report says
BEIRUT — The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed that the “harsh revenge” promised by Iran’s leaders has begun, according to the Fars News Agency. The agency said Iran had fired “tens” of ballistic missiles at U.S. targets in Iraq, but that could not be independently confirmed.
In a statement carried by the Tasnim News Agency, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said the missiles were fired to avenge the death of Qasem Soleimani in an operation called “Operation Martyr Soleimani.”
The IRGC also released a video purporting to show the missiles being fired and streaking toward Iraq. U.S. military officials said they had been anticipating a strike of some sort at al-Asad and that personnel at the base had taken precautions. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
By: Liz Sly